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Everything posted by alwang

  1. I've played around with this as well, brining eggs in a salt solution with other flavorings for anywhere from 1-3 weeks. I've done this using peppercorns, pimenton, or star anise: all of them were pretty interesting. I then soft cooked the eggs with an immersion circulator for nice runny yolks.
  2. Looks like a great meal. I find fish and banana actually go very well together across a range of accompaniements. I'm curious about the fennel puree: I love raw fennel, but I've always found it bland when cooked. How was the flavor and texture of this puree? J-Mac, any tips on how it was prepared?
  3. I change the water whenever it starts looking kind of murky, which is about every other week. It's a bit of a hassle as I have hard water in my area, and so to allow calcium to settle out, I boil a huge stockpot full of water first, and then pour it into my water bath.
  4. alwang

    Prep bowls

    Amazon sells these Pyrex bowl sets, often for cheap, sometimes for extremely cheap: http://www.amazon.com/Pyrex-14-Piece-Stora...97138459&sr=8-2 Right now, these are eligible for their Buy-4-Pay-For-3 promotion. They had a similar, even better deal earlier this year where I bought 8 sets. The price of each set worked out to around $7. The bowls themselves are perfect; the lids are a little flimsy and tend to warp.
  5. That sounds great- would you mind sharing the dough recipe? I'd imagine the original no-knead bread dough recipe would be too wet to work with as pizza dough...
  6. They're open to midnight on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, but they close at 7PM along with the Cluizel shop on Sundays. (To accomodate, we basically had sweets first, then we went to Chicken BonChon for a Korean fried chicken dessert. ) We also didn't see Will, so it's possible he's only there Thursday-Saturday. I was surprised that the chocolate was chalky as well. They were also hard to eat, as they were flat little discs at the bottom of the dish that were difficult to get at with a spoon. It's possible we got less caviar because they were simply running low at the end of the day. On the flip side, they ran out of a bottle of a dessert sherry, and ended up given us a pour of an entirely different (though also tasty) sherry, while comping us the half pour of the first one. Very gracious. Also, I should note that the alcohol pours in general were very generous.
  7. Stopped by Cluizel for dessert last night, and shared the tasting along with the drink pairing. The desserts when ordered individually right now are overpriced, but the dessert tasting is one heck of a deal, as is the drink pairing. It's ideally shared between 2-3 people. A couple of thoughts: - The desserts themselves ranged from mediocre to very good. I thought the weakest dessert was the vanilla ice cream with caviar and chocolate: the ice cream completely overwhelmed the paltry sprinkling of caviar, and the chocolate chips were chalky. I would have been particularly disappointed if I had ordered this individually and had paid a $7 addition. The warm chocolate espuma with espresso jelly was very nice, and went particularly well with a dessert sherry that surprisingly picked up some of the coffee notes. The chocolate chantilly with early grey sorbet and grapefruit was probably the most interesting flavor combination of the evening, and perhaps the most reminiscent of an R4D dessert. The white chocolate with olive oil and smoked salt was just predictably delicious. I doubt that any one of these desserts will really persist in my memory, but taken as a group of five, it was a very enjoyable experience. - Drinks in general were excellent by themselves, though the "pairings" were a little chaotic, as everything comes out in rapidfire succession (this could be because we came late as they were getting ready to close, and if so, I would not blame them). Again, the sherry was remarkable, and I'm not a big fan of sweet liquors. - Service was fantastic, particularly since we were finishing up as they were closing. We asked about the espuma, and our server/chef actually took the time to recreate another helping of that dish in front of us, and let us have it free of charge.
  8. To cook the quail, I think that you will need to cut them in half before bagging. You probably don't have to spatchcock if you cut the birds in half and vacuum pack it well. For poultry I prefer 60C (140F). I find that at 54C the texture can be a little mushy. --Edward ← The cavity might have been an issue: I had read upthread in this topic that the vacuum would effectively flatten the cavity, but perhaps that's with more powerful chamber vacuums. Spatchcocking or halving is probably a better idea. I wonder if it would also be possible to get more even heat distribution with some sort of stuffing? For chicken, I definitely prefer 59-60C, but for duck, I like it a little lower, and I thought that the quail might be more comparable.
  9. Anyone have any time and temperature suggestions for whole quail? I like my quail medium rare, and so I tried a couple of birds, individually packed, at 54C for about 90 min, followed by a quick blowtorch. I think they were probably still a little too bloody, even for my tastes.
  10. Pardon my ignorance, but what are these ground beans, exactly? Beans that are dried, then ground whole: seeds, husk, and all? And what would you use them for, as opposed to just the seeds?
  11. I agree with your basic assertion, but only because I assume we're limiting this discussion to parts of NJ that are reasonably close to NYC. If one is willing to head even further south than Edison, there are several other places such as Delorenzo's in Trenton (for pizza) and Bent Spoon in Princeton (for ice cream) that IMO are better than any of their kind in NYC. But now we're talking a longer commute than even I'm willing to justify for food.
  12. Anyone know where I can find Fabbri amarena cherries in Manhattan? I would have thought Buon Italia would have them, but nope.
  13. Can't believe I forgot to mention the cheese course. That cheese course, with the accompanying wine, was one of the best composed cheese courses I've had.
  14. I use something similar to this: http://www.bigtray.com/productdetails.asp&...atid.13470.html
  15. If you can think of the names (or addresses) of the Elmhurst, Flushing, or Brooklyn places, I'd be thrilled. I've had little luck finding decent Vietnamese food in any of the New York boroughs. I'm not saying this to be argumentative, as I don't believe I've been able to do a full survey, but if anyone has recommendations, I'd appreciate them. As for the general question of comparing Chinese/Vietnamese food across cities, I'd like to make a procedural point: obviously, it's not really useful to compare cities based on the average available Chinese food, as the fact that there are a lot of bad Chinese restaurants in NY doesn't affect my ability to find a good meal elsewhere. However, I'd argue that it's also not that useful to compare based on which city has the best single Chinese restaurant in a given cuisine, particularly when that restaurant, like Chinatown Brasserie, has raised their price point to an entirely different level from their peers: I can't go to that restaurant every week, nor would I want to. What I'm interested in is something in between: in what city is it easier to get consistently good Chinese/Vietnamese? What's the relative depth of high quality restaurants?
  16. This was some seriously tasty food. Loved the flavors on the scallop, even though it might have been the simplest course execution-wise. The skate, for me, was a real tour-de-force: I like that the varied and distinct preparations on some of the nicoise flavors (red pepper, olives, cornichons, capers) allowed them to stay relatively light on the palate, and not overwhelm a delicately flavored fish. My piece of beef was a little stringy, but the flavor was dead on. Desserts were killer: the apple dessert was damn near perfect. I've become accustomed to unremarkable mignardes at the end of the meal, so I wasn't particularly excited when the two finishers were plated in front of me, but both of them made my eyes bulge in surprise and enjoyment. Congrats and thanks to all the chefs involved...
  17. I think if you're going to repack the legs by taking them out of the vacuum bags, submerging them in duck fat, and then putting them in the freezer, there's no reason you couldn't keep the legs for as long as traditional confit. I think it's more problematic if you intend to just store the legs in the vacuum bag for extended periods of time, as once it congeals at refrigerator temp, I wouldn't feel comfortable about that small amount of fat fully covering the legs. Personally, I usually can't be bothered to repack the legs, as I don't have a lot of duck fat just lying around, so I just eat the confit within a few days.
  18. This is what I was trying to get at earlier: with soft foods that have a lot of juice, the Foodsaver-type machines draw out the liquids, and you've forced to seal prematurely, resulting in less pressure. I've tried this specifically with watermelon, and I did not find the result worth repeating. The only workable scenario is with soft foods which are not so juicy, such as figs.
  19. What I meant was that Foodsavers don't pull enough of a vacuum to do the sort of heatless compression "cooking" of vegetables that Digijam was referring to. Foodsavers are absolutely fine for sealing bags for water bath cooking, and are in fact what I use.
  20. I find the compression effect pretty marginal with consumer FoodSaver-type machines. You're facing two issues: First, the Foodsavers don't pull a powerful enough vacuum unless you're working with fruits and vegetables that are already fairly soft. Second, if you're working with softer veggies, or if you're attempting to infuse the vegetables with some flavoring liquid, the FoodSaver will tend to suck out the juices/liquids. I've had interesting results with a few experiments (figs for example), but most were pretty meh.
  21. Thanks Al. The meal looks very good but I agree its not as visually appealing as the earlier gourmand menus. Would you still recommend it to friends? I'm not sure but I may switch to ala carte and put together my own tasting menu including the suckling pig and the muscovy duck. Your thoughts? I was really looking forward to an over the top gluttonous tasting menu with wine pairings. ← If you've never been to EMP, I'd still recommend the gourmand as worthwhile. If you've been before, and (like me), you don't dine in these sort of restaurants all that often, I might suggest trying someplace new. I think the ala carte approach might be a good way to go. Even if the food in the gourmand wasn't over-the-top gluttonous, the wine pairing (though not cheap) was pretty excessive and decadent. It's a lot of booze, and good booze at that.
  22. Some photos of our recent meal (not to mention pics of a birthday girl, her associate, and two tippling octopi.): http://www.flickr.com/photos/tamngo/sets/72157602384994097/
  23. The Assi Korean market in North Wales is pretty great: large, clean, and excellent produce. Assi Korean Market 1216 Welsh Rd North Wales, PA 19454-2007
  24. BTW, re: Rack o’ Lamb ala Sous Vide...........Eh. I’ve had better. The Ranco unit did just fine though. ← Keep trying with the rack: I've had several people tell me after I served this CSV that it was the best lamb they've ever had. 131F sounds a little high: I did it at 127F for a medium-rare after the sear.
  25. Is the Jean Georges $28 prix fixe lunch not offered on weekends?
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